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The Single Most Overlooked Discipleship Principle

Updated: Mar 4, 2021

Often times we overlook obvious solutions. There are podcasts, websites, apps, books, vlogs and probably dozens of other ways we can access information. When it comes to repairs, building something or recipes, with the help of YouTube, we have access to an incredible wealth of information. This is also true of bible study tools. There are more translations, websites, courses and books available than ever before! Awesome!

However, none of this matters if we forget one of the most important parts of spiritual growth. Personal ownership. No one else is as responsible for your spiritual growth as you are. How many times have we heard, or said, I just wish someone would offer a class on the book of Romans, the end times, apologetics, or another theology topic. How many times have we heard people looking for a different church that “feeds them” better. Now, all of these can have a level of truth to them and no situation is identical, but at the core they miss a significant point that Paul brings up throughout his letters to the early church.

For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands, for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control. 2 Timothy 1:6-7

Paul is writing to young Timothy and these verses come right after he reminds Timothy of his spiritual legacy passed down in his family. Then he moves from Timothy’s surroundings and family to him personally. Take ownership. Take initiative. No other person is responsible for your spiritual growth. Yes, your family and community is important. Yes, solid bible teaching and your church is valuable. Yes, all spiritual growth is a work of the Spirit. Yes and yes. Still, don’t overlook the simple fact you (and me) are to put in effort. Paul’s metaphor of fanning a flame is practical and pointed. We have all seen or started a fire and realize the fragile nature of a fire getting started. However, once the fire really starts to take hold of the wood there is great gain with several strong breaths of wind that can really fan the whole fire into a blaze. Who is going to fan the flame? Paul tells Timothy it is him, he is to take ownership for his spiritual growth and use of God’s gift given to him.

Paul doesn’t just speak about this for new Christians, but he also assumes this when speaking about qualifications for overseers (elders). Writing to Timothy earlier about leadership, Paul wrote the very first qualification for elders to be that they aspire to be one. In other words, there is an eagerness, motivation, effort, dedication and work put in to become qualified.

This saying is trustworthy: “If anyone aspires to be an overseer, he desires a noble work.” 1 Timothy 3:1

Those things that matter to us we put effort into. We stoke the fire, put in the effort, get up early, prioritize schedules and demonstrate spiritual growth is important.

Personal ownership in your own discipleship of Jesus maybe the very thing that is holding you back. Let that end today and take ownership!

Q. What have I been waiting for someone else to do instead of taking initiative for my own spiritual growth?

Q. What one thing for the next 7 days can I adjust to take greater initiative for my spiritual growth?


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